Gardening This Weekend: July 13, 2023

Thank heavens for early mornings and late evenings this time of year. They’re the times when temperatures are at least passingly bearable. (Now let’s work on the humidity.) Here are the things you’ll want to accomplish.

Color plants that can stand up to the heat. Best types include purslane, moss rose, Cora XDR periwinkles (must have perfect drainage), angelonias, pentas, ornamental sweet potatoes, fanflower, purple fountaingrass, crotons, Dahlberg daisies, trailing lantanas, tropical hibiscus and a lot of others.
Peppers into your fall vegetable garden. South Texas gardeners, this is last call for planting tomato transplants so that they’ll have time to mature before frost. Small and mid-sized varieties only.
St. Augustine, bermuda or zoysia sod. Water new grass deeply after planting, then twice daily for about 5 minutes per time for the first 10 days. Gradually cut back to once daily, then twice weekly as the grass roots grow deeper into the soil.

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Dead or damaged branches from trees and shrubs. It’s hot enough now to prune oaks without worrying about oak wilt activity. Seal all oak cuts with black pruning paint. Do not seal other types of plants.
Keep mowing lawn at recommended height. Mowing lawn higher than recommended does not improve its summer durability.
Rose rosette virus has become epidemic around DFW and in other parts of the state. Remove affected plants at once. They will not get better come fall. See this information I leave archived on RRV on my website.

Hanging baskets and container plants with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food at least weekly. Nutrients are leached out of their pots and baskets very rapidly with the daily waterings they require in the heat.
Iron chlorosis causes leaves to become yellowed with dark green veins, most prominently on new growth. It’s common with plants that prefer acidic soils when they’re grown near or west of I-35. Use an iron/sulfur product. Keep iron away from concrete and stone that could be stained.

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Webworms are all over Texas in pecans, walnuts, persimmons and other shade trees. Clip them out with pole pruner or pull webs open. Spraying is not efficient because webs are so high in trees. Trees will not suffer long-term damage.
Watch for chinch bugs in hottest, sunniest parts of St. Augustine lawns. They were horrible last year, and odds are that they’ll be back this summer. Grass will appear dry but won’t respond to irrigation. The small black pests will be visible at the interfaces of living and dying grasses. Use a labeled turf insecticide to control them.
Aphids have already started causing sticky honeydew on pecans, bur oaks, chinquapin oaks, crape myrtles and others. At this point you’ll have to use a power sprayer with a general-purpose insecticide if you’re trying to reach the tops of tall trees.
Lacebugs will cause the same honeydew on leaves of bur oaks, chinquapin oaks, pyracanthas, boxwoods, Boston ivy, sycamores, and other plants. Look for black specks on the backs of their leaves. Controls are same as for aphids above.
That same systemic insecticide will help prevent damage of leafrollers attacking trailing vinca groundcover, sweetgums, redbuds, pyracanthas, cotoneasters and a dozen or more other plants.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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